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Finding up-to-date, interesting stuff in psychology: from Twitter to peer-reviewed journal

There’s a paper in the next edition of the journal Cognition which relates to the Alison Gopnik paper on babies’ understanding that  you’re reviewing for the first assessment. If you found the original paper interesting (I did), you might be interested to look at the Cognition paper, though it’s not necessary for the assessment.

How did I know it was there? Well, I subscribe to PsychologyNow on Twitter, which relays all kinds of press releases and blog posts about psychology, some pretty flaky, some (like this one) about research published in quality journals, but all released (and it’s important to remember this) to generate publicity for someone.
In this case, it’s the host university for the research which is publicising itself (NTU does the same).
So PsychologyNow pops up with

If I click through (bit.ly/…etc: Twitter shortens links to fit into the 140 characters). I get to http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236982.php    which looks like this:

That looks interesting, but I want more detail about the actual study.
At the bottom, it says:

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.

If I click that, I get:

The study, “Do 10-month-old infants understand others’ false beliefs?” is published in the journal Cognition.
University of Missouri-Columbia

And if I click on that link:

Which is no use to me at all: Medical News Today hasn’t really used the right link.

BUT I have some more information now: I know that the study was done by “Yuyan Luo, associate professor of developmental psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science” (it says that on the MNT page) , and also that she was quoted as saying: “Understanding other people is a key factor in successful communication, and humans start to understand this at a very young age”. This is on the MedNT page, but it’s very likely taken word for word from the UMiss press release*  SO I can use these as search terms. Putting “Yuyan Luo” and “Understanding other people is a key factor in successful communication, and humans start to understand this at a very young age” into Google (the double quotes are important: you should know why by now), gives:
Well, actually, lots of other compilers and press agencies which have (plagiarised)* reported the same story in the exact same words, but also, five down:

Babies understand thought … – News Bureau – University of Missouri\
munews.missouri.edu/….

Which looks like what I’m looking for. Clicking through on that gives:
http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2011/1101-babies-understand-thought-process-of-others-at-ten-months-old-mu-research-finds/   which looks like this:

OK, that’s nearer the source, but it’s mainly the same as on MedNT BUT down at the bottom it says:

The study, “Do 10-month-old infants understand others’ false beliefs?” is published in the journal Cognition

NOW I can go to Scholar Google with “Do 10-month-old infants understand others’ false beliefs?” and ‘Cognition’, which takes me straight to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010027711002009

OK, that’s the original article, and that’s great, but it won’t let me read the full article (I’m doing this from outside NTU in the comfort of my own home with Whapweasel, Fatamou Diabaté, Ballaké Sissoko, Bruce Springsteen playing on iTunes shuffle: so much nicer than Boots Library), so I have to go to ‘Institutional Login’ and go through the process I’ve described in ‘How to access journal articles from outside NTU’ on NOW, and FINALLY I can read the original paper (to be published next month in paper form in the journal).

Was that all worth it?
Well, it only took me a minute to actually do that: three clicks-through and two cut-and-paste searches. It’s taken me ages to describe it. What’s worthwhile is finding ways of finding out about interesting developments in psychology, and getting to look at the original research, and the intention of this post is to give you some idea of how to do that.

*If you start tracking down stories through the press, you’ll find that what we at the university regard as outrageous plagiarism is very common in the press, and for stuff like this that’s just reporting and nothing else, maybe that’s OK. Just don’t do it on the degree, kids: wait till you have a job and you’re paid to plagiarise – but watch out for copyright lawsuits.

† some of these articles/notices will say ‘adapted from’ or ‘based on’ a press release from XYZ, which is fair enough, but it’s unfair of me to claim the others are plagiarising – they’re just passing on stuff in a way which is recognised as being acceptable within the industry, which is quite different from what we’re doing in assessing people’s competence/originality, where this kind of word-for-word reproduction is NOT acceptable, unless it’s clearly signalled as a quote (which I hope I’ve done above).

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